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Federal rule change threatens food assistance

Proposed changes in a key SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) rule would take away basic food assistance from more than 3 million people nationwide. Working families with children, seniors and individuals with disabilities would suffer the most from this proposal unveiled last month by the Trump Administration.

This rule change would dramatically restrict an effective SNAP policy called broad-based categorical eligibility. Iowa is one of 40 states that use this option to raise SNAP income eligibility so that low-income working families—many of whom face costly housing and child care expenses—can afford adequate food.

If implemented, the rule change would lower Iowa’s maximum eligibility level for SNAP — which goes by the name Food Assistance in our state — from 160 percent of the federal poverty level down to 130 percent. That’s about $27,000 per year for a family of three, far below what it takes for a family to make ends meet.  

In addition, the children from families who would lose their SNAP benefits under the proposed rule would also lose access to free school lunches and breakfasts. 

SNAP is the nation's most effective anti-hunger program, helping 1 in 9 Iowans — over 70 percent of whom are in families with children — put food on the table. Taking away access to basic food security will only multiply challenges facing low-income Iowans.

This rule change is not a done deal. Administration officials are required to take public comments into account before finalizing the rule, and critical public comments have been successful in derailing or reducing the damage of other harsh proposed rule changes.

You can tell the White House why SNAP is important to you and why this stricter rule would be harmful by commenting here.


New public charge rules restrict support for immigrant kids and families

New public charge rules recently issued by the Department of Homeland Security make it harder for immigrant families to gain permanent residency for themselves and their children if they receive — or may receive in the future — health insurance through Medicaid, food assistance through SNAP, or certain housing benefits.

It also makes it harder for families with low incomes, those with children, and even those with children who have severe medical issues or special needs, to gain permanent status. The result is that low-income families are discouraged to use supports to help them work, stay healthy and care for their families. This is counter to who we are as a country and will have a devastating impact on our nation’s children.

Go a little deeper / What is public charge? And how are families affected? Check out this 16-minute podcast, "(Don't) give me your poor," from Today, Explained at Vox. Listen here. 

Even before going into effect (scheduled for October 15), the "chilling effect" of this new rule has undercut efforts to ensure all kids have health coverage. States are reporting that growing fears and uncertainty are affecting immigrant communities’ decision to get coverage or re-enroll. After years of progress in ensuring that all of America’s children have health coverage, recent data show increases in the share of children who are uninsured. This alarming trend will only worsen under the final rule.

Ensuring that immigrant families have access to health coverage is vital to helping kids lead healthier lives and putting them on the path to success. Every Iowa kid deserves the chance to grow up healthy and under the care and love of healthy parents.

Visit www.protectingimmigrantfamilies.org to learn more. 


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